31 May 2012

30 May 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Wrap Up

It was a hot, hot weekend here in Columbus (95 plus degrees!)

Gracie and I spent it running errands, eating good food, catching up on TV/books/magazines, doing some work on the blog, and taking care of random things around the house. 

Brad was away in North Carolina on a nice family weekend getaway, so it was just me and Grace - Girls Weekend!


If that's not the face of a happy pup, I don't know what is!


I caught up on some required reading...and some very non-required reading...


Gracie was not impressed and spent most of her energy preventing me from getting any work done.


When she got tired of that, she took some some puppy naps...

\

Sometimes under the bed...


...but she never forgot her dutiful role as guard dog!


I mean, really...who wouldn't be scared of teeth like this?


I consumed a lot of noodles - probably my favorite food of all time. Pad Thai, Japanese Ramen, Taiwanese Noodles - you name it, I ate it! 

Oh, and I had a festive Popsicle too in honor of Memorial Day!


Fret not, Grace had her usual share of bully sticks...


Along the way, I:

1. Discovered a new favorite nail polish (OPI something...my short-term memory escapes me)
2. Took advantage of West Elm's extra 15% off sale and bought myself a coral throw I'd been eyeing for months
3. Jumped on the the topiary trend and picked one up at Goodwill - $2.99? Yes, please!
4. Dropped some clothes off at Plato's Closet and picked up this sparkly number - $4.00? Yes, yes, yes! Thinking of pairing it with a cropped blazer, some skinny jeans, and some summery wedges...

All in all, a great weekend...Brad came home Monday to a very excited Gracie who just wanted to play, play, play!

We stopped by my boss's house for a lovely BBQ pool party in the afternoon, but by early evening, the two of them were reunited...


...and resumed their daily lacrosse practice.
And all was well in the universe again. 

How about you? Did you have a good Memorial Day weekend?

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29 May 2012

Homemade Bagel Chips




Bagel chips are one of my favorite snacks to make.

These little guys are easy, healthy, and make such a pretty plate to share with your co-workers, friends, and family. Everytime I bring these into the office, I get multiple people asking me about the recipe. They're soo much better than store-bought bagel chips - worth the effort!


25 May 2012

A Great Gatsby Friday


I'm not the biggest movie person. 
On average, I go to the movie theater three times a year, if that.

Why, you ask?

1. I'm hearing impaired. 
I seriously cannot follow movies when there are no subtitles. Give me subtitles and I'm golden!

2. I have an overactive bladder. 
I can't watch a movie without drinking water, and I can't drink water without going to the bathroom, and I can't go to the bathroom when there's no pause button!

3. I get movie sickness. 
This is a true story. Usually, I just ditch whomever I'm with and move to the very back of the theater and watch the rest of the movie with a migraine. Once, I had to physically leave the theater to go throw up in the theater bathroom. It was a sad night.

As you can see, it takes a lot to convince me that a movie is 'theater worthy.' Once in a while though, a movie comes along that convinces me to forgo my above three points and hunker down at the movies with some Advil and a (small) cup of water.

This is one of them! 
Shall we do another list of reasons why?

1. It's based off The Great Gatsby - arguably the best book ever written. 
I read it in high school and shed a few tears while giving my final presentation on the book's closing paragraphs. (Not gonna lie...it was embarrassing.)

2. Star-studded cast includes:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire.

3. As Barstool Sports puts it, "If you wouldn’t go gay for Leo you are gay." 
(Note: I am not a fan of this website and am dying a little bit inside that I'm quoting them here.)


That being said, my heart fluttered when I learned the movie trailer was released! As a testament to how lasting the impression I left on my high school classmates during my tearful presentation, I had multiple people email/facebook/text/tweet me to tell me that the trailer was out.

Thank you, guys...I'm glad my legacy lives on.

Here's what went on in my head while I watched this trailer. Keep in mind that I was first linked to it via the Barstool Sports website, which had a two-sentence description:

Did not see Jay and Kanye coming for a Gatsby trailer.  Interesting choice.  More importantly if you wouldn’t go gay for Leo you are gay.

Back to my thoughts:

1. Jay Chou is making an appearance!? YES!
2. Jay Z, got it.
3. Kanye and Jay Z are guest starring? YES!
4. Wait...why is there no Kanye or Jay Z in the trailer? Did I miss it?

(restart video at beginning)

6. Still no Kanye or Jay Z!
7. OHHHHHHHHH its the music!

(sigh)

8. Gawd I love Leo.
9. Carey Mulligan is so pretty!
10. Gawd I love Leo!!!!

What do you think? Are you going to watch it when it hits theaters?
Personally, I don't know how I'm going to wait until Christmas!

24 May 2012

Charred Calamari with Lime and Grilled Bread


During my weekend roadtrip to Louisville, we had an amazing dinner at one of my new favorite restaurants. Proof on Main. My favorite dish was a Charred Octopus appetizer...so of course, I tried to recreate the dish when I got home. 

I used calamari instead of octopus, which is similar but with a less chewy consistency - both work well for this dish. The charred-ness is a central component of this dish - make sure you get the meat nice and crispy and browned on the outside. This, combined with the fresh lime, is a summery, delicious combo! 

23 May 2012

Louis Vuitton in Louisville

Yesterday, I mentioned that while shopping along Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky, I discovered a little vintage consignment shop that quickly became the highlight of my trip! 

Vintage Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton? 

Yes, please!

Meet my newest friends...

22 May 2012

Midwest Roadtrip Part II: Louisville + The Bachelorette


Our Midwest roadtrip continued with Louisville, Kentucky...such a cool, quirky city! We followed GQ's Guide to Louisville and grabbed pizza at Garage Bar - the pizza and cocktails were amazing! I had the basil gimlet...people in Louisville make their drinks strong!


We did a little antique shopping on Market Street and found a great collection of vintage goodies. 
Market Street itself was full of cute shops, bars, and restaurants. 


We also visited the Riverwalk in Kentucky...beautiful views! 

We enjoyed two dinners Saturday night, which we tend to do when we travel to solve the dilemma,
"Too many restaurants, too little meals!"

Dinner One was at The Oakroom, Kentucky's only AAA Five Diamond Restaurant, which just happened to be in our hotel, The Seelbach Hilton, which F. Scott Fitzgerald has stayed at and is rumored to also have come up with the premise of The Great Gatsby. Beautiful, old-fashioned hotel with lots of granite, marble, and oak finishings...


Dinner Two was at Proof on Main, the restaurant inside 21C Museum & Hotel. This was a boutique hotel that also had a museum and full bar and restaurant inside - genius. We had gotten multiple recommendations to check this place out, and I'm glad we did. The food was delicious (Chef Michael Paley heads up this as well as Garage Bar) - if you go, you must try the charred octopus appetizer - definitely my favorite! 

On Sunday, we walked around Bardstown Road - another fun and quirky area in Louisville. I found a cute little vintage shop that turned out to be an absolute gem! I was going to put some pictures up today of my finds, but they are so special that I thought they deserved a post of their own - tomorrow, I promise! 


I'll give you a little teaser though - let's just say I found a little Louis Vuitton in Louisville! 



Why Louisville, Why Louisville - thanks for being so good to us this weekend!
We'll definitely be back for Round Two!

P.S. Who watched the Bachelorette last night? Charlie is definitely my new front runner and favorite!
If you're not following me on Twitter just yet, you're missing out!

Here's my very active Tweeting history during last night's eppy:


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21 May 2012

Midwest Roadtrip: Two Days, Two Cities

This weekend, we took a mini roadtrip around the Midwest! 

Both Brad and I are from the coasts (East & West respectively), but moved here for college almost eight years ago. We both loved the charm and character of the Midwest, and the friendly, easygoing personalities of the people. 

Charm, character, and personality were everywhere this weekend on our roadtrip to Cincinnati, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky. Though they were both fairly close to Columbus (1 1/2 hours to Cincy, 3 1/2 hours to Louisville), it felt like we were worlds away from home. 


Our weekend kicked off with gorgeous weather on Friday...sunny and not a cloud in the sky! 


Brad had planned out our itinerary for the weekend - Cincy for Night One, followed by Louisville for Night Two!


The drive down to Cincy was beautiful - rolling hills and grassy pastures everywhere we looked! We had enjoyed our previous trip down to Cincy this past Winter, but seeing it in late Spring was ten times better...


On the top of our list was an area called Mt. Adams, where we grabbed a drink at a local bar called The Blind Lemon. When we were here during the winter, we loved the cozy atmosphere of the 1960s underground tavern - very Harry Potter-esque. 

This time, we were able to enjoy our drinks on the outside back patio - these pictures don't do it justice - it was absolutely beautiful! 


Mt. Adams is my favorite area of Cincy - young and brimming with local bars, shops and restaurants. We had dinner at The Rookwood Bar & Restaurant - easily one of my new favorite restaurants. The space was originally a studio facility for Rookwood Pottery Co., and the character and integrity of the pottery studio has been preserved beautifully.


We ordered the charcuterie plate, fried bacon (with jalepeno honey), and Grippos fries - delicious! 
The restaurant space was beautiful - we ate inside and then moved outside to enjoy its huge outdoor deck complete with plenty of patio seating, a lowered fireplace, and swings too!

If I lived in Cincinnati, this is where you'd find me every Friday night: drinks at The Blind Lemon, followed by dinner at The Rookwood!


While we were touring the Midwest, our dear Gracie was in the care of her Uncle Scherper & Aunt Lina - and being pampered like no other! We were getting lots of photo updates, and as you can see, she was one happy pup this weekend. Lots of time spent outdoors, riding in shotgun, and napping in Uncle Scherper's bed. She even picked up a little gardening! 

Check back in tomorrow for Part II - Louisville, Kentucky, where I picked up quite a few vintage goodies that I'm in love with! 
(As well as the breakdown from tonight's episode of The Bachelorette!)

18 May 2012

Dining Out: Kihachi, Omakase Style

Yesterday was a great, great day...for a few reasons:

1. My first dish - Slow Cooker Braised Asian Short Ribs - was featured on Foodgawker! 
See my newly minted  gallery here...there's just the one dish for now, but there'll be more soon, I promise!

2. Pageviews for SimplyVicky hit an all-time high for the day!

3. And...I got a little promotion at work too :)

So, to celebrate these (along with our almost 2 year anniversary), 
Brad surprised me by taking me out dinner at one of our favorite Columbus restaurants, Kihachi

17 May 2012

Suburban Renewal: Chest Diaries, Part 4



The Chest Diaries are back! 
Last time, I left you guys with one newly stained, naked-no-more chest.

Today, we're going to: 
1. Re-paint all the brass hardware with a fresh coat of black paint 
2. Give it 3 good coats of gloss to add some shine back into her! 


I used a basic acrylic based black paint for the hardware...



Paint, paint, paint away...


Loving how much more even the finish looks here for both the wood and the hardware parts...


As you can see, a lot of the paint had been chipped off and bruised before the refinishing. The acrylic paint that I used didn't have a glossy finish, but that's where our trusty Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish comes in... 


I used this clear gloss to coat the entire chest - three healthy coats!


I love how the gloss brings out the natural warmth of the wood and softens up the whole appearance of the chest! It's like airbrushing for wood! 


And the tally: 

Exterior
1. Wipe down and clean all surface area
2. Sand wood to remove all leftover stain and varnish
3. Restain to a dark walnut
4. Repaint all brass hardware
5. Apply varnish to seal and protect

Interior
1. Vacuum thoroughly
2. Strip away all remaining paper / fabric bits
3. Sand wood 
4. Get rid of musty smell 
5. Line completely with fabric

So at the end of Day 3, we are pretty much done with the exterior of the chest! I'm loving how it turned out...the darkness and richness of the wood really shines through, and the repainted brass hardware gives it a cleaned up but still vintage feel!

Next time, we'll tackle the interior...I'm thinking a deep rich red to line the inside! 
What do you think? 

To follow the Chest Diaries from the Beginning, see below!

16 May 2012

Easy No-Cook Light Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce over Orecchiette


It's been a busy, busy week at work! 

We have one of our largest agents here visiting from Taiwan, and they brought their biggest group to date - almost 40 people! It's always so nice seeing old vendor friends and meeting new ones as well, and it's an added bonus to see my Taiwanese vendor friends since they remind me so much of home and of my extended family back in Taiwan. (They also bring the best snacks!)

That being said, by the time I get home from the office, I am exhausted and definitely don't have the energy to cook a fancy meal. It's times like this when I rely on what I call home cooked 'fast food' - and I've got quite a repertoire to share!

This quick & simple pasta involves just 4 ingredients, whirred together in a food processor, then served over some hot pasta...presto! 

Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner when you either: 
1. failed to plan ahead 2. are too exhausted to cook or 3. just want to eat, ASAP!

15 May 2012

Craigslist Dining Room Makeover + The Bachelorette!


Yesterday, I mentioned that my dining room got a mini makeover this weekend...and I couldn't be happier! I had purchased my old dining table with my old roommate before I moved out on my own. It fit great in our previous apartment, but I always found it to be a just a tad too big and bulky for my current place. It didn't help that I could count on my hands the number of times I've actually sat down for a meal at my dining table...definitely not a good use of (limited) space.

So, I figured it was time for a big change to a small dining table that was more suitable for my lifestyle. I am an avid Craigslister, and sure enough, I found this cute pub height set on Craigslist - still new in the box - and negotiated with the seller to get it for 50% off retail price!

Speaking of Craigslist, a lot of people look at me like I'm crazy when I say I love Craigslist...but I do! It's a great forum to buy and sell various items with people in your area.

After all, one man's trash is another man's treasure! Here are my top Craigslist tips:


14 May 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

We had another fun-filled, busy weekend here in Columbus! I love it when the weather gets warmer, ...I'm a big culprit of the winter slump!

The weekend started off with our friend Meg's bridal shower...


Fresh flowers, mimosas, and mason jars...always a winning combo!


The lovely bride opening presents, posing with her pretty mama (who flew in just for the shower!), and showing off her lovely ribbon bouquet!


11 May 2012

Emails From My Dad

My dad is a BIG fan of mass chain emails. 

A small sampling of his emails to me include:

FW: Best Comeback Lines of the Year
FW: Why I Don't Feel Stupid Anymore
FW: Just When You Think You've Seen It All...

You get the point. 

It's like how I used to be, in the 1990s, when chain emails were the hottest thing, and breaking the chain meant your true love would fall in love with your most hated enemy and that all your worst nightmares would come true and that you would die at the stroke of midnight via your greatest fear.

Luckily, my dad's chain emails don't usually contain these threats. 

In fact, the latest one he sent, titled, FW: Absolutely Amazing Pictures, was actually, well, amazing. 


Shanghai, China: 1990 vs. 2010
Look at all that change!


USA and Mexico border - Current Day
Left side: San Diego, California; Right side: Tijuana, Mexico

(Is it incredibly embarrassing that I thought it was the opposite when I first saw the photo?)


Speaking of borders, here is the edge of earth - Bunda Cliffs of Australia (whoa!)

Just looking at these photos makes me want to get out and travel! 
What are your plans for the weekend?

Don't forget - it's Mother's Day this Sunday! Do something nice for your mama! 


P.S. This photo, titled 'Aww Yeah Flowers!' was also included in the email - much more indicative of the usual content I get from my dad.

All photos courtesy of Twisted Sifter (via my dad)

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10 May 2012

Chandelier Love

Remember earlier when I said I love a little sparkle in the home?

Well...I bought a chandelier! 


Let me back up a little...

At work, we have a few sample sales a year. Usually, we sell last seasons' clothing samples to employees at discounted prices. Every once in a while, we'll also have a special "Rummage Sale," which is an odds and ends sale. These consist of store fixtures and furniture we no longer use - tables, lighting, chairs, t-stands, floor rugs, mannequins, etc. 

Yesterday, we had another one of these rummage sales, and naturally, I went. 

I immediately spotted this beautiful chandelier while in line and made a beeline for it when the sale started...


The only tiny problem I have is that I currently rent, and it's doubtful that the ceilings in my place are high enough to accommodate this three-feet behemoth of a chandelier...

But, I'm in love!

Here's the inspiration direction I'm thinking...




Which one's your favorite?

I'm loving this sparkly new purchase!

Photo credits: 1 2 3
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